Picks returns, this time with a close friend of the sqwaaa Caley Dewhurst, a graphic designer and Threads radio DJ who has contributed to our recent Euphoric Apocalyptica collaborative article, digging this time into his record collection for music that sits on the knife's edge between warmth and frost. Enjoy, you can check out the tracks on this here spotify playlist, and see previous episodes of Caley's Halcyon:Faze show here. Take it away...
There’s something about the way synthesisers are able to break down human emotions to their rawest form and amplify them back to us; the process of translation from human through machine and back. I was trying to think of a theme for this week’s Picks and remembered a particularly evocative phrase from a Haruki Murakami book I was reading over lockdown: a delicate resonance of longing… so here are ten cheery tracks about heartache, breakups and unrequited love.
Patrick Cowley’s original instrumental demo of what would become Sylvester’s ‘I Need Somebody to Love Tonight’. The Sylvester track is classic, but I love this version – without the vocals in the mix there’s more space for Cowley’s earth-shattering synth lines. This is the sound of machines in mourning.
Love, heartache and Larry Levan – the holiest of trinities. Praise be.
A heavily redacted version of Ruth’s classic minimal wave track soaked in feedback and distortion with pitched down vocals that sound like ghosts from some kind of liminal electronic realm.
As breakup songs go I can’t think of anything that better captures that strange, bittersweet combination of loss and relief.
As painter and part-time philosopher Britney Spears once said, ‘it shouldn’t be complicated’. Baby, dance with me, I like Neon Lights… it’s wide-eyed, it’s naive and Deux still somehow manage to extract a whole world of heart-wrenching emotion. If Kraftwerk did love songs…
Swiss electro-pop of the highest order.
A tropical cosmic disco belter from Trinidad and Tobago
This has been on heavy rotation for the last couple of years and for good reason. A killer remix created on the fly by mixing between two copies of the record with some added sprinkles of dub echo goodness.
I’m a sucker for a detuned synth and I came across this track recently as a repress on Emotional Rescue; it’s dark synthpop with big ‘80s vocals that fall just on the right side of the cheese fence, atmospheric new wave synths… oh, and what can only be described as an army of angry psychedelic wasp drones.
An Italo-disco-inspired Russian synthwave track from 2018. I was reading in Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music the other day that Italo disco sounded ‘triumphant’, but I disagree. I think it’s defiant in the face of burning, unfulfilled desire… usually love, but sometimes just simply wanting to go to space for a bit, and I’m sure we can all relate to that. Anyway, this is a banger. Enjoy.